James Spann: Light snow, icy travel in Alabama Tuesday

WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY: NWS offices in Huntsville and Birmingham have issued a “winter weather advisory” for much of North and Central tomorrow for tomorrow…

The advisory was issued instead of a winter storm warning since snow amounts are expected to be light; a winter storm warning issued by NWS Birmingham when snow totals are expected to exceed two inches. But, please understand there should be very significant travel impact tomorrow.

Note the winter weather advisory includes counties as far south as Sumter, Dallas, Lowndes, Montgomery, Pike, and Barbour.

To the north, snow amounts with the system so far today have been in the 1-2″ range. This is what it looks like at the National Weather Service office in Paducah, Kentucky this afternoon…

Here are the important points concerning tomorrow’s weather in Alabama…

*Light snow will move into the northwest counties very early tomorrow, a little before daybreak, then spreading southeast during the day.

*Snow could reach Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Anniston, and Gadsden as early as late morning (10 am-12 noon).

*Snow amounts should be light, generally one inch or less. Heavier amounts are certainly possible, however. The latest SREF mean for Birmingham is 0.84″

*Despite the light amount of snow, temperatures will drop into the 20s during the day tomorrow, and snow will initially melt on road surfaces, followed by a quick freeze, leaving a glaze of ice. This will make for rapidly deteriorating driving conditions soon after the snow begins.

*The “Snowmageddon” event of January 28, 2014 is a fair analog. This time it won’t be quite as cold, and we won’t get quite as much snow (most likely), but the impact could be similar. Once the snow begins to fall tomorrow, be in a place where you want to stay for 24-48 hours.

*Snow tapers off tomorrow night, but we drop into the 10-15 degree range early Wednesday morning with little improvement in driving conditions. Roads should improve to some degree Wednesday with very dry air and sunshine in full force, but patchy ice could linger into Wednesday night and Thursday morning since the high Wednesday will be only in the 30-35 degree range.

*As a meteorologist, I am not sure it is wise for me to issue travel go/no go opinions for tomorrow. Icy travel is likely once the snow begins, and temperatures will be in the 20s. I possess no special knowledge or skill about future road conditions. All depends on your specific route and risk tolerance, and that varies from person to person.

*I have nothing do do with school closings; see them here (courtesy ABC 33/40).

*We warm into the 40s Thursday and 50s Friday with a good supply of sunshine both days.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Saturday will be dry and pleasant with a partly sunny sky along with a high around 60 degrees. The next system will bring showers and thunderstorms to the state Sunday night into Monday of next week; for now the severe weather threat looks low. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

BEACH FORECAST: Click here to see the AlabamaWx Beach Forecast Center page. The Beach Forecast is partially underwritten by the support of Brett/Robinson Vacation Rentals in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Click here to see Brett/Robinson’s Hot Deals now!

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For more weather news and information from James Spann and his team, visit AlabamaWx.

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